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UK’s cybersecurity center urges British organizations to bolster their cyber defences against potential cyberattacks from Russia as tension with Ukraine escalates.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has issued a warning with new guidelines for companies to help stay ahead of the potential cyber threat. It was done after the massive cyberattack on Ukraine government websites carried out by Russia, which Kremlin denies.

“While we are unaware of any specific cyber threats to UK organizations in relation to events in Ukraine, we are monitoring the situation closely and it is vital that organizations follow the guidance to ensure they are resilient.

Over several years, we have observed a pattern of malicious Russian behaviour in cyber space. Last week’s incidents in Ukraine bear the hallmarks of similar Russian activity we have observed before,” sayd Paul Chichester, director of operations at NCSC.

After the attack on Ukraine government official websites, Oleksiy Danilov, top security advisor to Ukraine’s president, said that he was 99.9% sure that Russia was behind the cyber attack. However, Kremlin has denied these claims.


Government websites of Ukraine targeted by cyber-attack suspected to have been launched by Russia. (Image: Sky)

This week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has also warned American companies and critical infrastructure operators to be prepared for potential cyberattacks by the Russian government and its proxies.

NCSC officials are assisting the Ukrainian government with investigations into the cyber attack. The attack was carried out during the same time as more than 100,000 Russian troops gathered close to Ukraine’s border. The mass military mobilization has prompted fear among the Western nations regarding the possible Russian invasion of Ukraine.

NCSC said on Friday that even though the Russian government is not taking responsibility for the recent attacks in Ukraine, NCSC is investigating with Ukrainian cybersecurity officials. “Incidents of this nature are similar to a pattern of Russian behaviors seen before in the previous situations.

The British agencies have also accused Russia of launching NotPetya cyberattacks on Ukrainian official IT systems. The malware was spread in over 64 countries, including the UK.

In modern warfare, cyberattacks are a part of military invasion. The new NCSC guidelines are designed to make sure British organizations and companies are prepared for cyberattacks that may affect the internet worldwide because “cyber weapons do not confirm to geographical boundaries.”

“The guidance encourages organizations to follow actionable steps that reduce the risk of falling victim to an attack,” says NCSC.

The new guidance by NCSC includes pointers such as enabling multi-factor authentication, checking backups, patching security systems, disabling unnecessary access points, and more. Any organization that is attacked has to report to NCSC at the latest.